On Sun, May 28, 2006 at 03:35:07PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 
> Philosophers are at the opposite extreme of engineers, in that they
> consider the practical details of their thought experiments to be
> unimportant. I think the idea that Parfit is exploring in the term
> "psychological spectrum" is how much one can change and remain the
> "same" person. I think I'm the same person I was yesterday even though
> my brain has changed physically and my mind has changed to reflect that
> change. Even though it is very unlikely to happen in reality, it is easy
> enough to imagine that the relatively minor physical/psychological
> changes that have occurred in the past day are exaggerated, so that
> instead of changing from me-yesterday to me-today, I change from
> me-yesterday into Napoleon. The point is that this type of radical
> change would be different in *degree*, not different in kind from the
> type of change that occurs normally. One could even argue that turning

Sure, but that's exactly where I'm in disagreement. The change into
Napoleon is a difference in kind, not degree, as one would have to
pass through non-functional brain structures in order to change from me to
him. Whereas to change from me to me as I was twenty years ago can be
achieved by passing through functional brain structures (all the
instances of me over the last twenty years).

Cheers
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A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
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